What Is A Cleansing Balm, and How Do You Use It?

From gels and foams to scrubs and oils, there are so many different ways to wash your face, but there are lots of reasons why you might choose to use a cleansing balm over any other type of cleanser. If your skin feels dry or looks dull, if you wear makeup on a daily basis, if you’re a fan of double cleansing, or if you simply like to take a luxe approach to your skincare routine, then a cleansing balm is the one for you.  

Here’s everything you need to know. 

What is a cleansing balm and how does it work?

Balm cleansers utilise oils and emollients to break down makeup, dirt, SPF, sweat, excess oils, and other impurities that might be on the skin. They’re great for dry skin types since they’re so nourishing, but they’re also really effective for oily skin types as oil attracts oils, so helps to remove any excess. 

Cleansing balms typically have a solid or buttery form which melts into an oil once warmed up on skin and emulsifies into a milky liquid once you add water. 

What are the benefits of using a cleansing balm?

A thorough cleanse 

Balms are great for melting away heavy makeup (even waterproof formulas) or breaking down thickly applied SPF which is hard to shift. Because they’re oil-based, they will also help to remove excess oil and oil-based impurities from skin.

Kind to skin 

Unlike surfactant-based cleansers (those which foam up), cleansing balms are non-irritating and won’t dry out your skin, compromise its moisture barrier, or disrupt its pH. 

Moisturising properties 

Since they’re packed with oils, balm cleansers are incredibly nourishing and moisturising, leaving skin feeling soft and smooth even after cleansing. 


Unlike cleansing oils which tend to be thin and runny in texture (and can end up all down your arms and over your bathroom!), balm cleansers are much less messy, so product doesn’t get wasted. Plus, you only need a tiny amount.

How do you use a cleansing balm?

1. With clean, dry hands, scoop out a small amount of balm and warm between your fingers. 

2. Once you feel it starting to melt, apply to your dry face, and begin to gently massage in circular motions all over your face. 

3. Massage for between 30 seconds to two minutes. If you have eye makeup on, lightly massage the eye area until the makeup starts to break down. 

4. Wet a clean flannel with warm water and wring out the excess. Drape over your face and leave for a moment for the steam to open your pores. Take deep breaths and let the steam and scent of your cleansing balm relax you. 

5. Use the flannel to wipe away the balm in gentle sweeping motions. If you’ve been wearing makeup, you may need to resoak and repeat this step. 

6. If you’ve been wearing SPF or makeup, or if your skin is prone to oiliness and breakouts, remember to double cleanse, by following up with a non-oil based cleanser.